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Kolkata vs Punjab player battles: Andre Russell, Kagiso Rabada take centre stage

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Team Kolkata lock horns with Team Punjab in match 8 of the Indian T20 League 2022 season at Wankhede Stadium on Friday, April 1. 

The Shreyas Iyer-led Kolkata made a winning start to their new season, beating Team Chennai by six wickets in the tournament opener. The team, however, lost their second match to a spirited Bangalore side in a low-scoring affair.

Punjab, on the other hand, continued their batting supremacy despite missing KL Rahul in the lineup. The team beat Bangalore by five wickets in the first 200-plus runs encounter for the new Indian T20 League campaign.

Heading into the fixture on Friday, expect the new-look Kolkata side to start as favourites given their superior head-to-head record against Punjab. In a total of 29 meetings, the two-time champions have won 19 matches while Punjab have come out on top on 10 occasions.

Kolkata vs Punjab key player battles

Ajinkya Rahane vs Sandeep Sharma

After a brilliant 34-ball 44 against Chennai, opening batsman Ajinkya Rahane failed to produce a similar performance against Bangalore, falling a mere six runs short of completing 4,000 runs in the Indian T20 League.

Similarly, making his debut for the new team, Punjab bowler Sandeep Sharma went for over nine runs against Bangalore, but the pacer will find solace in the fact that he has enjoyed better outings against Rahane in the past. 

The two have squared off in nine innings in the past, with Rahane managing just 71 runs in 77 balls against the seamer. On top of that, Sandeep has also dismissed Rahane twice.

Ajinkya Rahane's record vs Sandeep Sharma 
Innings Runs scored Balls faced Dismissed Strike rate
9 71 77 2 92.20

Andre Russell vs Kagiso Rabada

Andre Russell’s duo against Kagiso Rabada in the Indian T20 League has been exhilarating, to say the very least. The two top players have crossed paths in four innings in the past, with the West Indies all-rounder smashing 60 runs in a mere 27 deliveries while being dismissed just once.

Considering how vicious Russell was against Bangalore in the past, expect him to be at his usual best once again.

Andre Russell's record vs Kagiso Rabada
Innings Runs scored Balls faced Dismissed Strike rate
4 60 27 1 222.22

Shikhar Dhawan vs Varun Chakravarthy 

Varun Chakravarthy hasn’t been his usual self this season, having conceded 56 runs in just two games with only two wickets. However, he will know the nervousness that a certain Shikhar Dhawan will be carrying since the southpaw does not really have a great record against the Kolkata spinner.

In three innings, Dhawan has scored 28 runs in 27 balls against Chakravarthy while being dismissed twice.

Shikhar Dhawan's record vs Varun Chakravarthy 
Innings Runs scored Balls faced Dismissed Strike rate
3 28 27 2 103.70

Featured photo: AFP / Punit Paranjpe

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